THE GIG IS UP: WHO DOES
GIG ECONOMY ACTUALLY BENEFIT?
University of Zagreb, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture
|INDECS 19(1), 106-119, 2021
Full text available in pdf and xml formats.
Received: 10th January 2021.
This article takes on the task of exploring gig economy in its various forms and definitions, starting from its economic origins as a way to reduce transaction costs and overheads in firms making use of modern technology, and working up to some of its social consequences, such as the transforming of employees in just-in-time resources, fragmenting their labour and eroding their ability to organize and unionize in order to better defend their rights. Focussing on the influence platforms have on their users, be it in the role of workers or customers, it questions their far-reaching impacts on society and economy in terms of their positive, neutral or negative consequences for workers, as most of the literature agrees on the heavily skewed positive consequences for businesses. In order to make sense of existing research made on "giggers" this article tries to provide a scope of the gig economy using, which has been difficult to achieve as numerous researchers, institutions, and even states, define gig economy in different ways, with their data varying depending on definitions, dates, and methodological approaches. Finally, the article explores three distinct "selling points" of gig economy, namely: the possibility to generate (not always) steady income, the flexibility it offers to its users, and its consequences on workers' social and emotional state, putting into question their benefits for workers, for the profit of platforms and businesses.
gig economy, platform economy, work force, precarity
JEL: J21, J22, J23, J28, J46